Guise, the name of a celebrated family of French dukes, who took their title from the town of Guise (q.v.). Claude de Lorraine (1496-1550), the first duke, was the fifth son of Rene II., Duke of Lorraine. He served in Italy under Francis I., distinguishing himself at the battle of Marignano (1515). The title was bestowed upon him for his services in suppressing a revolt in Lorraine. He married Antoinette of Bourbon, and was the father of Mary of Guise, wife of James V. of Scotland and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. His son, Francois de Lorraine (1519-63), second duke, was one of the greatest generals of his time.
His chief military exploit was the successful defence of Metz against Charles V. (1553). He afterwards became the leader of the Catholic party and conducted the war against the Huguenots, whom he defeated at Dreux (1562) and elsewhere.
He was assassinated. His memoirs are extant. Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine (1525-74), brother of the preceding, was one of the most bitter opponents of the Huguenots. He was employed in a diplomatic capacity by Francis II. and Charles IX. Henri I. de Lorraine (1550-88), third duke, son of Francois, distinguished himself while still a boy in the war against the Turks in Hungary. He afterwards carried on the struggle against the Huguenots, whom he encountered at Jarnac and Moncontour (1569). He was one of the chief promoters of the massacre of St. Bartholomew (1572), and founded the "Holy League," nominally in defence of Church and State, but really for the purpose of raising himself to the throne. Emboldened by his successes against Henri of Navarre, he entered Paris on the "day of the barricades," in defiance of the prohibition of Henri III., who was forced to withdraw to Blois. Thither the duke was summoned and an outward reconciliation was effected, but he was immediately afterwards assassinated by the king's command, together with his brother and fellow-conspirator Louis, Cardinal de Lorraine (1555-88). Henri II. de Lorraine (1614-64), fifth duke, took part in the Neapolitan insurrection of 1647, but fell into the hands of the Spaniards (1648). In 1652 he was released, and returned to Paris. He subsequently became grand chamberlain.